Volleyball opens up with the Otter Invitational

The wait is finally over, today marks the first day of the new season for Minnesota State Maverick volleyball. Flying to Seaside, California for the Otter Volleyball Invitational held by California State University, the Mavs will take on the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks as their first opponents of the season on Thursday. 

The Nighthawks are looking for some new team leaders this year, as their kills, assists and blocks leaders all graduated after the 2022 season. Caroline McMahon will be back, however, and she led the team in aces and digs. With a 2-1 record all-time against the Nighthawks, the Mavs will look to hand coach Doug English a loss in the first game in his 11th season as their coach. 

After their inaugural game with the Nighthawks, the Mavs will play two matches Sept. 1, the first of which comes against Westmont College. This will be their first-ever matchup. The Warriors are led by head coach Ruth McGolpin, who returns for her fifth season at the helm. When talking about the Warriors, two players stand out; Phoebe Minch, their 2022 leader in kills and aces and Kalli Hashimoto, leader in digs. 

Later that day, the Mavs will face CSU Monterey Bay. The Otters and Mavs have played only once before, and the Mavs took home the win back in 2012. Entering her second year as head coach is Courtney Materazzi, but she will not be alone. The Otters also return some statistical team leaders from 2022. Assists leader Ashley Vanderpan, ace leader Savanna Maker and blocks leader Mikayla Nolte will lead the way for their 2023 season. 

In their last game of the weekend, the Mavs will take on the Dominican University Penguins. The Penguins are coming off of a rough 2022 season in which they went 1-27. Luckily, they have retained their kills leader in Ella Heckman, but the rest of the team is relatively inexperienced, including Deo Boongaling, who will begin his first season as head coach in 2023. 

The Mavs themselves were ranked tenth in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll to begin the year, but now, the polls don’t matter. The season is about to be underway, and the Mavs have their work cut out for them after their worst season in program history last year.

Write to Hayden Lee at

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